the praying mantis-Ruth Bader Ginsburg combo

Re-blogging by link from Steph of Partial Ellipsis of the Sun, because who doesn’t want to read a post combining scientific names, feminism, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg? ūüėČ
https://wordwomanpartialellipsisofthesun.blogspot.com/2016/06/check-out-that-jabot-praying-mantis.html

the original Mother’s Day

Yesterday, for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I posted about personal Mother’s Day.

Today, I want to post about the original meaning of celebrating Mother’s Day.

It was actually Mothers’ Day for Peace and was not about personal sentiment, but about global peacemaking.

Julia Ward Howe wrote the original proclamation in 1870:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

(Source and more info:  http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm)

At our time in history, we are still desperately in need of world peace. Today, let us re-commit ourselves to building that peace.

One-Liner Wednesday: Gloria Steinem quote

“Imagine we are linked, not ranked.”
~~ Gloria Steinem

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here: ¬†http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/23/one-liner-wednesday-its-als-fault/¬† Enjoy our badge by nearlywes.com.

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Re-jiggering

Friend to bloggers everywhere, Opinionated Man of HarsH ReaLiTy and A Good Blog is Hard to Find, both of which I highly recommend you follow if you aren’t already, has long advocated splitting blogging time in thirds, one third each for writing, reading, and commenting.

It’s a good idea, although not one that I have been able to follow very meticulously.

Lately, though, things have gotten unbalanced, even for me.

I have been spending tons of time reading, liking, and commenting, but not so much time writing. I also have (many) tons of in-person commitments coming up this spring, so I’ve decided to re-jigger my blogging priorities a bit.

Step One: ¬†I’ve separated my blog email from my personal email.

I’m hoping this will make my personal inbox easier to handle, with less likelihood of personal notes, poetry notifications, and, oh, bills and statements, getting lost in the shuffle.

Step Two:  I will also try to spend more time with posting, even though that will mean less time for reading and commenting.

Which is sad, but necessary at this point.

One of the things I am making time for in the coming weeks is my first ever MOOC, ¬†Psychology of Political Activism: Women Changing the World, from my alma mater, Smith College. I’m hoping it will generate some posts here at Top of JC’s Mind.

Stay tuned!

One-Liner Wednesday: Abigail Adams

“I long to hear that you have declared an independancy‚ÄĒand by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.”
~~ Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband John Adams, March 31, 1776

This One-Liner Wednesday quote is in honor of Women’s History Month.
Come join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out how here: ¬†http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/16/one-liner-wednesday-much-ado/

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Livestream for International Women’s Day

I am listening to a livestream from the Vatican in observance of International Women’s Day. It can be found here: ¬†http://voicesoffaith.org.

Although I didn’t tune in as the program began, I was able to begin listening from the start of the program. I’m not sure if it will be archived for later viewing or not, but I hope so.

There are wonderful speakers from around the world, talking about their lives, about faith, about peacemaking, about listening, about mercy, about love, about action, about solidarity.

Wishing all women around the world safety, opportunity, equality, and the gifts of free expression and deep listening.

Update:  The video is available from the link above. I think the link will default to the English version, but it is also available in Spanish and Italian. So many powerful voices.

 

Advice for the Clinton campaign

I have written before about being a supporter of Bernie Sanders for president because his views align most closely with mine, especially on environmental protection, economics, health care, military spending and campaign finance reform. As a native New Englander, I have known about him and followed his career for decades and appreciate his consistent stance on equality for all without regard to gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. I am not averse to Hillary Clinton; I just happen to favor Senator Sanders’ positions.

I am also an independent and would like to offer Secretary Clinton some advice to keep her campaign from alienating Senator Sanders supporters and the many independents in the country. Because neither major party commands the majority of the electorate, any candidate who aspires to the presidency must be able to draw support from independent voters.

1.) ¬†Don’t criticize Senator Sanders for not being a Democrat. He did you an enormous favor by running for the Democratic nomination instead of mounting a campaign as an independent. ¬†He has been able to generate huge grassroots support and funds from small donors without having any superPACs. One of the things that appeals to many of his supporters is that he is an independent who is not beholden to a party machine or to corporate campaign dollars. Which leads to the next point…

2.) ¬†Stop pretending that you are not part of the establishment. ¬†Seriously. You and your campaign sound totally ridiculous when you make the claim of being an outsider. ¬†Being a woman does not disqualify you from being part of the establishment. Is former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not part of the Democratic establishment? ¬†Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is chair of the Democratic National Committee, which is definitely an Establishment position. ¬†You spent eight years in the White House as part of what you and President Clinton billed as “two for the price of one” public servants. ¬†I voted for you to be Senator of New York, but Wall Street, also your constituent, made out a lot better than my upstate town during your time as Senator. ¬†You served in President Obama’s cabinet, which is certainly admirable service and valuable experience, but it is definitely part of the establishment. ¬†All of the superdelegates, who are part of the establishment in their home states, are lining up for you because you are part of the Democratic establishment and Senator Sanders is not. (Point of information for my non-US readers: ¬†While Sanders has caucused with the Democrats throughout his years in Congress, he has never been a member of the Democratic party. ¬†He describes himself as a democratic socialist, which is a familiar term to Europeans who usually have a party with that philosophy in their countries.)

3.) ¬†Don’t criticize women who support Senator Sanders. ¬†I am a feminist and, like you, a proud graduate of a Seven Sisters college. I would very much like to see a woman president. ¬†But my wish to see a woman president does not blind me to the fact that I agree with Senator Sanders’ views more than with yours. It’s insulting for your surrogates to condemn me to hell for not yet supporting your campaign; it doesn’t give me a feeling that you appreciate my intelligence and opinions. ¬†It’s even more insulting to the ¬†young women who are in the Sanders’ camp. My 20-something daughters and their friends have graduated from school into a horrible job market. When they can find jobs, they are often underpaid. Many of them are struggling with student debt. A federal living wage means a lot to them. Single payer health care would give tremendous peace of mind, especially for those who live in states that did not expand Medicaid, creating large groups of people without access to affordable insurance. ¬†People who support Bernie Sanders are supporting a feminist, too, as well as a long-time champion of civil rights.

4.)  Remember that the votes of independents are crucial.  In many states, people who are not enrolled in a political party can choose to vote in either primary on election day.  Even in closed primary states, such as New York, voters are listening to how you are campaigning and will remember when the general election comes in November. Independents are turned off by overly partisan arguments and are reminded of the gridlock that has been so destructive in recent years.

5.) ¬†Clearly lay out your position on issues and your history. ¬†You and your campaign need to do this without mischaracterizing Senator Sanders’ positions, history, and experience. I have heard you and your campaign do this over and over. It makes you look weak. ¬†It’s much better to draw distinctions against the Republican candidates and the actions of the Republicans in Congress when you give speeches and interviews. ¬†That will also help all the Democrats running for office. You also need to explain which of your positions are your own and which you adopted because they were President Clinton’s positions or the Democratic party’s positions or President Obama’s positions. If your position on an issue has evolved, say so and tell us why. We need to know.

As I am finishing this, I am watching the first return for Super Tuesday primaries. Yes, Clinton will win most of the states today, but Sanders will garner hundreds of delegates as well. The campaign will be continuing. Let’s make it as positive and illuminating as possible.

Muslim-American women seek change from within | National Catholic Reporter

Source: Muslim-American women seek change from within | National Catholic Reporter

I appreciate hearing from these young American Muslim women about their experiences and their faith. Like Sister Christine, I am especially drawn to the centrality of divine mercy which is common to both faith traditions.

Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, and I

A friend posted a link to this article: ¬†http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/gloria-steinem-hillary-clinton-white-house?CMP=share_btn_fb¬†on Facebook a few days ago. Gloria Steinem writes about her reactions to Hillary Clinton as she ran for New York Senator and for the Democratic nomination for president and about some other women’s reactions which were not as positive as hers. Her article inspired me to add my own viewpoint.

When Bill Clinton was running for the Democratic nomination for the first time, he was in trouble for reports of him having affairs. ¬†Bill and Hillary appeared for a joint interview on 60 Minutes. I remember thinking that the wrong person was running for president. While Bill is undoubtedly the more charismatic, Hillary struck me as being the more intelligent of the two. Being first lady of Arkansas and then of the United States didn’t really give her the opportunities to reach her full capacity in service and in leadership.

I appreciated that when she ran for Senate in New York she did a lot of listening and I was proud to be able to vote for her. She did a good job as Senator and gained valuable experience. When she ran for the presidential nomination in 2008, I felt she was the stronger candidate than Barack Obama because she had more experience, as Steinem notes in her piece. Because I am an independent and New York has a closed primary system, I wasn’t allowed to vote, though.

The experience Hillary gained as Secretary of State in the Obama administration makes her even more experienced as a candidate now. I do have a problem, though. Because she had to spend so much of her time in the public eye supporting someone else’s vision and having to play the game that women often have to play to prove that they are “tough” enough to participate in predominantly male environments, it is hard to pin down what policies she believes in herself, as opposed to positions she had to take on for other reasons.

While I am excited by the prospect of a woman president and believe that Hillary will gain the Democratic nomination and the presidency, at the moment I am supporting fellow independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Bernie’s progressive views most closely match my own and he has been amazingly consistent in his vision over the decades. I believe his candidacy has been good for Hillary, helping her to articulate her own progressive views that had gotten buried in the years of having to follow the lead of her husband, her party leadership, and President Obama as a member of his Cabinet.

I do deplore the amount of snark – and worse – that women candidates have to endure. As Steinem points out, some of the disapproval comes from other women, where it is often a reflection of dissatisfaction with a woman’s own life rather than an actual disagreement with the candidate. Further, Clinton has to contend with actual hatred directed at her by some partisans. No Congressional committee would have questioned Sec. Colin Powell for eleven hours as the House Benghazi committee did this past week with Clinton. I agree with Steinem that, had I faced the choice to run for Senate that Hillary did, I would have said no. Running for president – twice – is even more punishing.

It feels odd, as a feminist, not to be on Hillary’s bandwagon yet. I am again faced with the situation that I don’t have a vote until the general election, when I fully expect that I will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton and her running mate. Meanwhile, I will back the candidate whose positions I share most closely, Bernie Sanders.

The “Confidence Gap”

The last several years in the United States have seen a number of articles, books, and studies about why women remain much less prominent than men in the upper echelons of business and government.

Some put the onus on women themselves for (variously) taking time off or cutting back responsibilities at work to tend to family, lack of self-confidence, and lack of ambition.

Research has made clear, though, that our country and our businesses, which we all like to think are meritocracies, are in fact, not.

What research has found in brief:
Women in the United States have been graduating from college at a higher rate than men and often have higher skill levels.
Though women are more skilled, they are also more likely to be humble. Men tend to exhibit a confidence level that they can’t actually back up with their skill set.
Despite this, managers tend to promote confident but less-competent men over more-humble but more-competent women.
If women adopt behaviors that are more confident, even when they have the skill set to back it up, they are viewed negatively, considered pushy, bossy, etc.

While women have been blamed for not being confident or ambitious enough, the bottom line is that the system is executed in a way that favors male-prevalent behavior patterns and penalizes female-prevalent ones, while also penalizing women who adopt more stereotypically male behaviors.

We need to stop blaming women and start changing corporate practices. Make assignments and promotions on the basis of demonstrated skills, not on who talks a good game. Actively solicit ideas and opinions from everyone on the team. Organize work hours in a way that helps people to manage their other responsibilities to family, community, etc. This is not just a women’s issue. Men also need to juggle multiple commitments.

To continue in the current mode is a waste of some of the knowledge, skills, and talents that women can bring to our companies, organizations, and government.

It’s (past) time for a change.

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